10+ Best Alternatives to Sliding Glass Doors

When it comes to visual appeal and ease of operation, there is nothing like sliding glass doors. They move with the track, give off more natural light to the room and can be retrofitted for any home design. However, it is not very secure when it comes to burglary as they could easily detach the latch. They can also be vulnerable to breaks. 

With these, you might want to install another door type. But then again, what would be the alternatives to sliding glass doors? If you are wondering just what they could be, here are the sliding glass door alternatives that you should know about.

Related: 46 Different Parts Of a Door, Sliding Door and Door Frame (Include Knob)

Pros and cons of sliding glass doors

For a more objective choice on opting for a sliding door or not, here are the pros and cons of that door type. 

Pros

  • Visual appeal: If you have a beautiful landscape to show outdoors and an even more glamorous indoor aesthetic to prod on, sliding glass doors are the best pair to make both sides emphasize. It is a sight to behold for you and your visitors, indeed. 
  • Natural light: You would invest less on artificial light and pay less for electricity because of the daylight-saving ability of sliding glass doors. You can also just add a flexible exterior screen to allow daytime breeze on an open sliding glass door. So, overall, sliding doors are energy and cost efficient.
  • Space saving: Because they are not swinging out, you can save space indoors. They also do not need doorknobs because you just have to slide them from left to right. And if you have a compact space, the effect of glass in creating an illusion of width and depth is beneficial. 
  • Eco-friendly: Sliding glass doors are usually made of glass and metal so you are helping with the trees when you opt to have one. Other than this, they are also applied with special finishes that are less or do not have VOCs and hazardous air pollutants so you can count on sliding glass doors when it comes to being eco-friendly. 

Cons

  • Cost: This is perhaps the major drawback of having a sliding glass door. Not only are they more expensive because of the material used for construction but they are also harder to maintain. 
  • Maintenance issues: Because of the glass build, it is more vulnerable to breaks and stains. It can also shatter if you are located where weather conditions can be harsh. It might also be prone to rusting and warping so down the stretch, it could only last for 10 years or so. 
  • Security: As have been mentioned, sliding glass doors are not the most secure door types. They do not have the built-in latch system of typical doors so they can be vulnerable to intruders. 

How do I identify a sliding glass door?

Basically, a sliding glass door can be identified through a fixed panel attached to a roller and slides on a track. They come in single and double sliding glass door types. There are also stoppers at the end to prevent the sliding glass door from jamming when it is open or closed. The seven major types of sliding door would be the following: 

  • Aluminum sliding door
  • Timber sliding door
  • Cavity sliding door
  • Wardrobe sliding door
  • Screen sliding door
  • French sliding door
  • Electronic or automatic sliding door

10 alternatives to sliding glass doors 

So, what can you install in place of a sliding glass door? Here are some of the door types that you can choose from when it comes to sliding glass door alternatives. 

1. French doors

This one is a timeless choice for patio glass doors. It has the top to bottom design like a sliding door but with glass pockets all over. Like glass sliding doors, they are timeless looking, create an illusion of space, and seep in a lot of natural light. It can be customized to any shape, style, and glass type. 

Newer trends in French doors include French sliders which is basically a sliding door with the design of classic French doors. It is composed of four panels: the two panels on the side work as stable sidelights and frame while the two remaining panels on the middle slides partially like a typical sliding door. 

ProsCons
Good as both interior and exterior doors.Costly and more difficult installation. 
Gives the illusion of space.Limited fit for many home styles.
Customizable. Needs more space. 
Good source of natural light. Low energy efficiency rating. 
High aesthetic appeal.

2. Pivot doors

As the term implies, pivot doors open and close by pivoting in and out. The pivot handle and the floor take on the weight of its metal and glass construction.

They are well loved for their stability and ability to withstand harsher climate conditions. You would usually find pivot doors in commercial establishments like companies and hotels because they are formal looking.

ProsCons
Sturdy and stable. Can be too contemporary looking for most home designs. 
Easy access. Obstructed view when open. 
Offers an unobstructed view even when closed. Can be expensive. 
Unique design. Mediocre energy efficiency rating. 

3. Accordion doors

Check accordion door on Amazon

Like the instrument it is named after, this glass door folds in and out as they move. When it is opened, the glass panels are clumped together and when it closes, it would spread apart. Unlike sliding glass doors, they are better when it comes to security. And as far as design is concerned, they are good for contemporary home designs. 

Another trend in accordion doors would be lift sliders. They work in a bifold manner and then completely disappears into a track and then stacks on a wall. It is perfect for patio doors more than entry ways. 

ProsCons
Energy efficiency.Flaws on security. 
Versatile design and finish.Low ease of access. 
Lightweight and practical. Can be expensive. 
Low maintenance. 

4. Center swing doors

This works a lot more common than pivot glass doors. But when it comes to construction, center swing doors are made from wood more often. It is installed through a top hinge, allowing the door to swing in and out. As such, if it is pushed to the right, the left side opens and vice versa. Because of its unique movement pattern, it is found mostly on commercial establishments. 

ProsCons
Easy in/out system. Harder to lock. 
Privacy. Can be costly. 
More variety and better view when opened.
Easy to maintain. 
Space-saving.
Security. 

5. Shoji sliding screens

For a contemporary, Asian vibe, shoji sliding screens would be the best choice. Its sliding mechanism is very similar to that of sliding glass doors. It usually has pocket designs and is framed in either wood or metal. But compared to it, it offers more privacy and in a more compact design. 

ProsCons
Privacy.Can be noisy in the long run. 
Wide range of designs. Limited accessibility. 
More compact and easier to install. Durability. 
Cost effective. 
Gives more floor space. 

6. Bi-fold doors

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Compared to the accordion door, when this door opens, it splits from the middle and folds from there. Its modern look is visually appealing. It could also be custom fit to lessen maintenance costs. Like sliding glass doors, it is save-spacing but compared to them, they can be more costly when it comes to installation. 

A more modern style would be multi-track sliding doors. Its full effect can be seen when you create a wall enclosure out of it. So, when it opens, four tracks and four different glass panels would open simultaneously. 

ProsCons
Easy installation. Obstructed view from the inside due to more frame than glass. 
Very functional and versatile. Issues on door stacking. 
Wide range of styles and finish. Can be costly. 
Security. 

7. Rollup glass doors

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If you are really looking for non-latch doors, rollup doors are also fine choices. This one works in a horizontal open and close manner. As such, when it is opened, all what is inside the enclosure is exposed.

When you use this door mechanism for a garage or shed, they can be made of wood or metal but when it is used as a door, you can add aesthetic value to it by using glass.

ProsCons
Visually appealing.Limited access. 
Durable and insulated. Door jamming issues. 
Unobstructed view when opened.Can be high maintenance, 
Easy open and close mechanism.
Fire resistant and with a long lifespan. 

8. Dutch doors

This is one of the finest touches to modern rustic homes or farmhouse style ones. It is like the typical latched door, only it splits on the middle so that the top half is opened while the bottom half is closed. It offers a more unique look compared to traditional sliding glass doors and is beneficial in keeping pets and kids inside. 

ProsCons
Child and pet safety.Makes insect infestation more probable. 
Strong country look. More expensive compared to basic doors. 
Seeps in natural light.Needs weatherproofing/sealing. 
Good for offices and laundry rooms. Finger pinching in the middle!
Offers better airflow. 

9. Sliding barn door

This one works in the same manner as that of glass sliding doors with its horizontal movement and single stationary point. Its rustic finish can fit well to modern, contemporary, and even industrial designs.

It is also good for creating more privacy. It is more well suited for lofts and rooms than main doors, however, because they tend to be bulkier compared to sliding glass doors. 

ProsCons
Intriguing rustic-modern look. Limitations on slide path. 
Space-saving. Issues on privacy.
Privacy.Outdated look. 
Practical and cost efficient.

Related: 38+ Creative Sliding Barn Door Ideas and Designs

10. Single door with sidelights

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For new-age door designs, this one comes at the top tier. So, this one has a single door panel with glass sides. It still gives the natural light benefit of sliding glass doors. It has a minimalist aesthetic value that makes it more appealing to modern designs. It is not that space efficient, however. 

ProsCons
Durability and controlled view. Issues on privacy.
Offers ample natural light. Can be costly. 
Classic touch with modern look. 

FAQs on Sliding Glass Door Alternatives

How much does it cost to replace sliding doors?

At an average, the amount of replacing sliding doors is between $700-2500. Depending on the number of panels to be used, the frame and the materials, as well as brand and features, a new sliding door is in between $400-1800. Labor costs in both new installation and replacement would be at $300-800. 

Where can I buy quality sliding doors? 

If you still insist on buying and installing sliding doors, here are sliding door brands that you can check out: 

  • Superseal
  • Simpson
  • Vetter
  • Certain Teed
  • Peachtree
  • Marvin
  • Crestline
  • Milgard
  • Andersen
  • Kolbe and Kolbe
  • Pella
  • Weather Shield
  • Jeld-Wen
  • Simonton
  • Therma-tru

How many glass panels should doors have? 

There is no max limit to the glass panels that you can have for your sliding glass door or any type of door that can be infused with glass material. But in so far as sliding glass doors and its alternatives are concerned, bi-fold panels are the only cause for concern when it comes to the number of glass panels needed. 

What glass types are used for sliding glass doors and their alternatives? 

For privacy purposes, the best type of glass to be used would be frosted glass. For durability, it should be tempered glass. For more light flow, natural light and illusion of space, you can opt for reflective glass. 

Conclusion

To conclude, there is more to just sliding doors and wooden latched doors. While sliding glass doors are dreamy, you can install alternatives that are less costly to install and maintain in the long run but with the aesthetic appeal of glass sliding doors. The only thing you must narrow down is to know which one to choose for your home. 

There is no more limit to the types of alternative sliding glass doors that you can choose from. At best, you have to consider the pros and cons of each, especially in terms of its everyday benefits, installation, energy efficiency, maintenance and overall costs.

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